18 Things to Know About Jewish Actor Brett Gelman

The "Stranger Things" star coined the word "Jaddy."

Plenty of Jewish dads, daddies, zaddies and even JDILFs exist in the world. But no one, and we mean no one, is as Jaddy as Brett Gelman. The Jewish actor best known for playing Murray Bauman in “Stranger Things” and Martin in “Fleabag” is such a Jaddy (a Jewish zaddy) that he even coined the word!

So, to pay homage to the one true Jaddy, here are 18 things to know about Brett Gelman.

1. Brett was born on October 6, 1976 in Highland Park, Illinois to a Jewish family.

2. That makes him a Libra!

3. This is what he looked like at his bar mitzvah:

4. Brett graduated from Highland Park High School and later from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

5. Jewish culture has been formative in Brett’s life!

The actor cites his Jewish culture as the driving force behind his approach to the world, both in terms of humor and empathy,” writer Hannah Jackson wrote of Gelman in W Magazine.

6. One of his “acting gods” is fellow Jewish actor Gene Wilder.

7. In the 2010s, Gelman was a part of multiple shows on Adult Swim. He also created two comedy specials for the channel, including “Dinner With Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends” in 2014:

8. From 2015 to 2018 he was married to Jewish director Janicza Bravo.

9. Check out all his best (or worst?) moments as Martin in “Fleabag”:

10. In 2017, he starred in the movie “Lemon,” which he and Bravo co-wrote, with Bravo directing. Gelman’s character, a middle-aged actor named Isaac, comes from a vibrant Jewish family.

11. To prepare for his “Stranger Things” character, Brett trained in karate for three months!

“I wasn’t pursuing belts, because that’s a different type of structured training, but at times I was told I was learning black belt moves,” he told Vulture. “The training was really extensive, a lot of combinations of punching, kicking and blocking; the different types you can do in martial arts is very extensive.”

12. Learn the specific definition of a Jaddy from Brett:

“Elliott Gould’s a Jaddy, but so is Adam Sandler,” Gelman explained in an interview. “The Sandman is a major Jaddy. It’s like a sexy, Jewish, masculine man.”

13. He’s the perfect background dancer for a Hanukkah sing-a-long:

14. He has thoughts on how antisemitism affects our societal standard of beauty.

I think antisemitism is very much the whispered bigotry, in terms of for both men and women, of how attractiveness can be perceived,” Brett has said. “I think that there is a lack of representation amongst Jewish men with a man’s face like mine.”

15. He has an extremely Jewish tattoo:

16. Brett directed the music video for singer and then-girlfriend Ari Dayan’s song “Love.”

However, the pair are no longer dating because…

17. Brett recently proposed to Dayan in Jerusalem!

Mazels, Brett and Ari!!!

18. Brett is set to star in the upcoming Apple TV+ series “Lady in the Lake” alongside Natalie Portman.

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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